When one of your favourite bands hasn’t made an album for five years and the last time you saw them live was five years ago you are prepared to make a bit of an effort to see them.
The last time I saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was at Latitude and looking at their website, the only shows they were playing this year near the UK was at a festival in London and a gig with Beck in Dublin.
Their slot probably wouldn’t have been longer than 45 mins at the festival so it looked like Dublin would be the best bet to see them for over an hour.
Scouring Skyscanner I found a way to get to Dublin the morning of the gig on Aer Lingus and returning the next day on a cheaper Ryanair flight – both from my local airport.
The Aer Lingus flight was at a sensible time and the Irish stewardesses showed me to my extra leg room seat at the front of the propellor driven small aircraft. Then as no one turned up on the seats opposite, suggested I should move into my own row. Getting better and better.
The 45 minute flight took me over the north coast of Wales past the Wirral and I could see the mountains of Snowdonia and a huge wind turbine farm off the coast of Wales.
Arriving into Dublin airport (quite a large airport), I got the bus I’d booked into town through the Dublin tunnel, missing the worst of the traffic. It was all pretty easy.
My hotel was on the north side of the river Liffey with checkin at 2pm so I decided to stay on the bus through to the Temple Bar area to look round there.
I’d been to Dublin before as a twenty year old, but arriving in town I remembered nothing apart from the Ha’penny Bridge over the Liffey. It was (nearly) all new.
I’d decided to spend quite a bit of time looking round the parks of city as well as looking round the urban attractions to break things up. It was a beautiful day and the people of Dublin were enjoying the sunshine by hanging out in the parks, laying out on the grass.
By 2pm I’d visited quite a few of the attractions on the south side of the river. I’d been to the Gallery of Photography and the National Photographic Archive. The gallery was between exhibitions, but there was a small exhibition at the Photographic Archive. I’d wandered the Temple Bar streets and had a half of very nice Guiness in the Temple Bar itself and then a spicy Mexican vegan pasty. Then walked over to the Trinity College where you can walk round the grounds.
If you’re interested there are student tours where they will guide you around the university. This also includes seeing the Book of Kells, an 8th century illustrated copy of the four gospels.
Then on to St Stephen’s park and the Iveagh Gardens. Both were busy with people enjoying the sunshine, seemingly taking very long lunches. St Stephen’s has some nice pools with many birds, and Iveagh Gardens has some good fountains.
I then started heading towards my hotel, crossing the river, but finding the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum on the north side of the river. This is in a fantastic refurbished dockside building called CHQ or previously Stack A. It was built in 1820 as a wine and tobacco warehouse but has been restored as modern building with the museum, a gallery, eating places – including a Thai food place and coffee shops.
The gallery was showing a very good exhibition of Amy Winehouse photographs, and though I hadn’t followed the singer’s music, the photographs were excellent – by Charles Moriarty, a Dublin photographer.
The hotel I’d booked to stay in was quite basic, but was over £50 cheaper than most of the hotels on the south side of the river and still well located. Hotels in Dublin seemed pretty expensive – approaching London prices, and I didn’t fancy the £15 dorm beds which was the other option.
After I checked in, I chilled out for a bit, then walked down the side of the Liffey to the 3 Arena venue where the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were playing. Sadly they had no Guiness in the venue, but the YYY’s were incredible, having lost none of their edge and put on a great show. I caught the tram back very happy.
I skipped breakfast in the morning at the hotel but went back to the CHQ building and had breakfast there in one of the coffee shops. The Thai people ‘weren’t ready’ yet but gave me a big smile for trying them so early.
I spent the morning walking around the city, visiting Merrion Square, the Archaelogical Museum, Grafton Street and finding the statue to Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy.
There was a choice of different museums, but I chose the Archaelogical Museum because I saw a photo of its main room which looked pretty impressive. The Museum gave some cultural background to Dublin and Ireland, including exhibits such as some Irish Gold, a Viking display and weapons, body’s dug out of bogs and many other artifacts.
To finish off my quick tour I headed back to the Temple Bar and this time had a whole pint of Guiness. The pub has several rooms, expanding through the ages to fit its large number of visitors, and at the side a shop selling whisky. I bought a bottle for my Dad but forgot that I only had hand luggage so wasn’t able to take it through the airport unfortunately.
This blog just shows the sights of Dublin that I picked out as being interesting to me, but there are many other things to do there depending on your tastes. It was an easy city to visit and a pleasant change to be somewhere that spoke the same language as me and I could talk to people.
While I was there the Irish were in the final days of the campaign for allowing abortion. There was many posters and people on the streets campaigning both ways. You could see both sides of the argument, even if non religious, a tricky issue for all countries to consider.
On a later trip that was more a lads weekend we explored more of the pubs and nightlife of Dublin. Our first night we stayed in the Temple Bar area near our hotel. It had to be done and was quite entertaining even surrounded by fellow tourists. A nightspot close to this we visited was the Working Man’s Club. In no way resembling a working mans club it was full of hip students and cocktails.
On our second night we went to the north of the river and found some more varied pubs. They were quite spread out but it was fun to hunt out some good places. We ended up in Slattery’s bar which had a much more authentic Irish feel than the night before. Everyone was having a great time and the place was rocking.
During the day we walked across to the Guinness Storehouse which for a bunch of guys was an interesting way to spend the day, stopping at the Brazen Head on the way back for some solid Irish food at Dublin’s oldest pub.
If you have a bit more time, you can go out to the Dublin coast. The Howth headland can be reached by Dart train and has good walking for a few hours up to a whole day. Alternatively you can go south along the coast to Dunleary and walk out along the East Pier with the locals. Nearby is the James Joyce tower which may be of interest if you are into literature. There is cold water swimming at both Howth and Dunleary.